Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Inflammation and infections contributing to PD, ALS and ALZ

RNA Sequencing Reveals Small and Variable Contributions of Infectious Agents to Transcriptomes of Postmortem Nervous Tissues From Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, Alzheimer's Disease and Parkinson's Disease Subjects, and Increased Expression of Genes From Disease-Activated Microglia.

Author information

Neurodegeneration Therapeutics, Inc., Charlottesville, VA, United States.
Parkinson's and Movement Disorders Center, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA, United States.
Department of Medical Genetics, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA, United States.


Nervous tissues from both humans with neurodegenerative diseases (NDD) and animals with genetic models of human NDD, such as rare monogenic causes of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), Alzheimer's disease (AD), and Parkinson's disease (PD), show activated microglia, suggesting a potential causal role for inflammation in pathogenesis of NDD. We performed paired-end (PE) RNA sequencing (RNA seq) of total RNA's extracted from frozen sections of cervical spinal cords from ALS and CTL subjects, frontal cortical gray matter ribbons of AD and CTL subjects, and ventral midbrains of PD and CTL subjects. Trimmed PE reads were aligned against the hg38 human transcriptome using Tophat2/Bowtie2 (ALS) or HISAT2 (AD and PD) and quantitated with Cufflinks. PE reads were also aligned using Bowtie2 against genomes from representative species of Toxoplasma gondii and Trichinella sp. T6 (parasitic infectious agents), Babesia microti and Borrelia burgdorferi (tick-vector borne agents), and Treponema denticola and Porphyromonas gingivalis, agents causing chronic gingivitis. Primary aligned reads of each agent in each tissue sample were quantitated with SAMtools. We found small percentages (<0.1%) of transcriptomes aligned with B. microtiB. burgdorferiT. denticola, and P. gingivalis genomes and larger percentages aligned with T. gondii (0.1-0.2%) and Trichinella sp. T6 (1.0-1.1%) genomes. In AD specimens, but in no others, primary aligned transcriptome percentages, although small, approached significance for being greater in AD compared to CTL samples for B. burgdorferi (p = 0.067) and P. gingivalis (p = 0.068). Genes' expressions in postmortem tissues of AD and ALS but not PD revealed significant changes among disease-associated microglial (DAM) genes. Infectious agents' transcripts can be detected in RNA seq reads of both NDD and CTL tissues and vary from agent to agent. Expressions of Stage 1 and Stage 2 DAM genes significantly changed, suggesting the presence of Stages 1 and 2 DAM in our NDD tissue samples.

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

What's known and unknown about Bartonella

Bartonella often comes along with Borrelia (the microbe that is believed to cause Lyme disease), in the same tick. It can also be transmitted by fleas and cats. It can be more destructive than Borellia. Here's a recent update explaining what we know about Bartonella. 

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

New diagnostic tool for early Lyme detection

Unitive Design & Analysis (UDA) are the sole UK contributors to a three year translational project to develop a prototype Point of Care Diagnostic tool to address the growing problem of Lyme disease. 

Saturday, March 30, 2019

Borrelia burgdorferi (sensu lato) in ectoparasites and reptiles in southern Italy.


Parasit Vectors. 2019 Jan 15;12(1):35. doi: 10.1186/s13071-019-3286-1.

Borrelia burgdorferi (sensu lato) in ectoparasites and reptiles in southern Italy.

Mendoza-Roldan JA1,2,3, Colella V1, Lia RP1, Nguyen VL1, Barros-Battesti DM2,4, Iatta R1, Dantas-Torres F1,5, Otranto D6.

Borrelia burgdorferi (sensu lato) is a complex containing pathogenic bacteria of which some species, such as Borrelia lusitaniae, use birds, small mammals and reptiles as reservoirs. In Italy, the bacteria have been detected in reptilian and avian reservoirs in the northern and central regions.

Here, 211 reptiles from three orders [Squamata (Sauria with seven species in five families and Ophidia with 11 species in three families), Crocodylia (one family and two species), and Testudines (two families and two species)] were examined for ectoparasites and molecular detection of B. burgdorferi (s.l.) in three different sites of southern Italy, an area for which no information was previously available on the occurrence of borreliosis in animals and humans. Borrelia lusitaniae was molecularly detected in larvae and nymphs (11.6%) of Ixodes ricinus infesting lizards (i.e. Podarcis muralis, Podarcis siculus and Lacerta bilineata) and in 12.3% blood samples of P. siculus. Finally, B. lusitaniae and Borrelia garinii were detected in 5.1% (32/630) of questing I. ricinus.

These results show the circulation of B. lusitaniae in southern Italy and suggest that P. siculus could play a role as a reservoir, representing a potential medical threat to humans living in or visiting these localities.

Borrelia garinii; Borrelia lusitaniae; Ectoparasites; Ixodes ricinus; Podarcis siculus; Reptiles

PMID: 30646928 PMCID: PMC6332633 DOI: 10.1186/s13071-019-3286-1
Free PMC Article

Thursday, March 28, 2019

A tick-reduction experiment in Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard

Wed Mar 27, 2019 6:43 am (PDT) . Posted by: 

"Rick Laferriere" ri_lymeinfo 

*Mice Against Ticks: an experimental community-guided effort to prevent 
tick-borne disease by altering the shared environment *
Buchthal J, Evans SW, Lunshof J, Telford SR 3rd, Esvelt KM.
/Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological 
Sciences/, 2019 May 13;374(1772):20180105.



Mice Against Ticks is a community-guided ecological engineering project 
that aims to prevent tick-borne disease by using CRISPR-based genome 
editing to heritably immunize the white-footed mice (/Peromyscus 
leucopus/) responsible for infecting many ticks in eastern North 
America. Introducing antibody-encoding resistance alleles into the local 
mouse population is anticipated to disrupt the disease transmission 
cycle for decades.

Technology development is shaped by engagement with community members 
and visitors to the islands of Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard, 
including decisions at project inception about which types of disease 
resistance to pursue. This engagement process has prompted the 
researchers to use only white-footed mouse DNA if possible, meaning the 
current project will not involve gene drive. Instead, engineered mice 
would be released in the spring when the natural population is low, a 
plan unlikely to increase total numbers above the normal maximum in autumn.

Community members are continually asked to share their suggestions and 
concerns, a process that has already identified potential ecological 
consequences unanticipated by the research team that will likely affect 
implementation. As an early example of CRISPR-based ecological 
engineering, Mice Against Ticks aims to start small and simple by 
working with island communities whose mouse populations can be lastingly 
immunized without gene drive.

*Free, full text*: https://doi.org/10.1098/rstb.2018.0105

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

An additional 100,000 tick-bites estimated this year....

And more fun statistics which begs the question: Where did these come from???

About 400,000 new cases of Lyme disease are reported in the United States annually, and about a quarter of those are from New York.  

FYI: Holly Ahern was interviewed for this story.

Sunday, March 10, 2019

Jesse Colin Young and Lyme disease - Q&A: The Solo Years Then & Now

[Jessie Colin Yong] dropped off the charts after the '70s but continued to perform and release new material, some of it quite excellent, until 2006, when his discography suddenly stopped growing.

Now we know why. Young had contracted Lyme disease, which he'd apparently had for years but went undiagnosed until 2009. The debilitating illness kept him out of the game and, adding to his woes, in 1995 his house in his beloved Marin County, California, burned down, leading to Young moving from the area he'd called home since the late '60s. He and his family, including his wife Connie, son Tristan and daughter Jazzie (all of whom are involved in the new album), settled in Hawaii, where Jesse tried a completely new line of work, becoming a coffee farmer.

Today the Youngs live in South Carolina and Jesse is back on the road with the assistance of Tristan, who leads Jesse's new band composed of musicians Tristan met at the Berklee College of Music.

Q: You wrote "Lyme Life," on the new album, about your own experience with the illness.

JCY: There's lot of ugly stuff that happens to you when you get Lyme disease and I do have some dark feelings, but I had to keep [the song] about what needs to be done.

Q: How did the Lyme disease affect your performing and your songwriting?

JCY: When I say in "Lyme Life" that "the shadow left with me," that's kind of what it's like. It makes you crazy. It makes you paranoid. It increased my anxiety level tremendously. Panic attacks. And no doctor seemed to know. I think I may have had this for 20 or 30 years. I got diagnosed in 2009, and the treatment was difficult at times. Luckily by the time my son Tristan was graduating from Berklee College of Music, I was starting to feel like I was getting better, and when songs started to come, I knew something would happen.

Lyme Life: https://youtu.be/WEB7Gw7dyUw